This article was originally published in the Simpsonville Sentinel and at Yahoo.
With all eyes on Boston over the past several weeks, many have connected and have come to admire the resilient people that live in this city steeped with our nation’s history. With strong ties to South Carolina, including the Greenville Drive’s Boston Red Sox affiliation and Fluor Field modeled after Boston’s Fenway Park, to the stones that built Fort Sumter direct from Boston area quarries, the Upstate has a close relationship with this amazing, unforgettable city.
Boston is a great, walkable city; in fact it’s been nicknamed America’s Walking City, so no need for a rental car once you arrive. The T subway system is also pretty extensive so when you don’t feel like walking just hop on the subway to get to wherever you’re going. Unlimited 7-day passes are available for just $18.00 per person and you can either pick up a map or download one to your smart phone to figure out which routes you need.
Once you arrive, check in at the Nine Zero Hotel. Part of the Kimpton hotel chain, this sleek, modern hotel has been ranked as one of Boston’s top luxury boutique hotels. It’s conveniently located on Treemont Street, right across from Boston Common, America’s oldest public park. It’s also right on the Freedom Trail, close to the Theater District and Chinatown- in the heart of downtown Boston.
Once you’re settled in, walking the Freedom Trail is a great way to get to know the city. Park Ranger’s lead free tours daily from the National Park Visitor’s Center at Faneuil Hall and other companies offer costumed guided tours or, you can pick up a brochure and take a self-guided tour. The walking trail covers 16 sites that are significant landmarks in American Revolutionary history. Landmarks include Paul Revere’s House, Bunker Hill Monument, The Old State House and the Old Corner Book Store.
Boston Duck Tours are another fun way to sightsee around the city. These tours leave from the Prudential Center and are especially popular with families. Tour guides have nicknames like MackinQuack and make history fun as you ride in an amphibious vehicle. You’ll learn about the history of Boston’s Back Bay, see the gas lamps and brick sidewalks that define Beacon Street and plop down into the Charlestown River before checking out where the USS Constitution, aka Old Ironside, is docked.
The Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum is another good way to immerse yourself in American Revolutionary history. This floating museum features live actors, high-tech exhibits and authentically restored tea ships. Upon entering the museum you will be given a feather and a card issuing you a new identity. You will then be ushered into a room where you will meet new colonists like Paul Revere and Sam Adams. After proclaiming your independence from England, you’ll explore the ships and throw tea overboard just like the Sons of Liberty did on December 16, 1773.
Before checking out other attractions like the New England Aquarium, Museum of Science and the Skywalk at the Prudential Center, get a CityPass. Many larger cities offer these handy booklets, with Boston being one of those, and are available at any visitor’s center and at several kiosks throughout the city. They contain prepaid admission tickets to Boston’s most popular attractions and offer almost a 50% discount. Some attractions also let you skip long lines with these passes so they are definitely worthwhile.
In a city with a Dunkin Donuts on every corner, Boston has plenty of options when it comes to dining, but the North End, aka Little Italy, transports you into another country. When you cross over onto Hanover Street and enter the North End Historic District you feel like you are in Italy. Little, Old Italian women are busy sweeping the stoops in front of their restaurants and the smell of fresh baked bread is heavenly sweet. From cannolis at Modern Pastry (forget famous Mike’s where the lines are longer with tourists) to pizza at Regina’s, a no frill’s pizzeria that has been here since 1926, the dining possibilities are endless. With over 100 restaurants in this small (.36 miles) area, crowds line the streets on many nights so if you don’t have reservations there may be a long wait.
There are so many things to do and see in Boston. Be sure to stop into the Boston Public Library to see the amazing architecture, marble statues and painted murals. Take in the amazing city view from the Prudential Skywalk Observatory. Go shopping along Newbury Street, the shops at Prudential Center and Faneuil Hall. Sample food from the largest food court I’ve ever seen at Quincy Market and visit the seals and penguins at the newly refurbished aquarium that’s been under repairs by Raleigh Aquarium Maintenance for a few months.
Whew…and that’s only a fraction of what Boston has to offer. There are also world-class museums and many other historically significant sites. Each of Boston’s 21 distinctive neighborhoods has its own charm and vibe, making each one and the whole city truly unforgettable.